I know many readers of RF Report and my RF Technology column are interested in do-it-yourself antennas based on the enthusiastic response to my articles on the Gray-Hoverman antenna. An article on Consumerist.com by Ben Popken, Make Your Own Indoor HDTV Antenna from Cardboard and Aluminum Foil caught my attention. The article links to two antenna designs by Dave Muse. The bow-tie antenna design is not unique, but the techniques for using cardboard (or plastic or foam board) are interesting. Construction seems a bit simpler than the wood and coat hanger bow-tie design, at least for a two-bay antenna.
The most interesting example is a log-periodic antenna. These can be tricky to build, but Dave gets around the problem by offering a template you can print out and then use to cut the elements out of two pieces of cardboard or foam. Wrap them in aluminum foil and use another piece of cardboard or foam to separate them at the appropriate angle and you are done.
I was wondering how the lead-in was connected to the antenna. The solution was equally as simple – staples! I'm not sure how well this antenna would hold up in a corrosive atmosphere but it would probably last for a while indoors if it didn't get knocked to the floor.
I can see using the aluminum foil and cardboard approach to test out all manner of antennas, not only for TV reception but perhaps for 2.4 GHz wi-fi as well. If you come up with an interesting antenna design, send me the details and I'll cover it in a future RF Technology column in TV Technology. It may be time to dig out my old antenna textbooks and try out some of those interesting broadband antennas or perhaps a fractal antenna!
Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.
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